Scientific material is hard to come by online unless you're ready to pay a pretty penny to access it. Many scientific papers and books are indeed available in an online format, however, they typically hide behind paywalls, leaving them unread by many.
Two sites have been trying to remedy the situation by pirating scientific papers: Library Genesis (LibGen) and Sci-Hub.
The issue is that sites like these have real problems staying online for legal and logistical hosting purposes. Now, a new project by data hoarders and freedom of information activists is trying to bring long-term stability to LibGen.
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What is LibGen?
Library Genesis offers 33 terabytes of books, comics, scientific papers, and more in its digital library. That's a whole lot of information to host while fending off countries and science publishers who are trying to shut it down.
So, just last week a project was launched by Redditors trying to better host LibGen's papers.
You should go to library genesis (https://t.co/UaXn9ffbnq) for easy to download free books :)— Roses&Knives (@Roses_Knives) November 27, 2019
"It's the largest free library in the world, servicing tens of thousands of scientists and medical professionals around the world who live in developing countries that can't afford to buy books and scientific journals. There's almost nothing else like this on Earth. They're using torrents to fulfill the World Health Organization and U.N. charters. And it's not just one site index—it's a network of mirrored sites, where a new one pops up every time another gets taken down," said a Redditor named shrine. The shrine is one of the online users trying to help LibGen out.
Once it was kickstarted, two seedbox companies — services that offer high-bandwidth remote servers for uploading and downloading data — Seedbox.io, and UltraSeedBox, joined the project.
Thanks to the two companies, LibGen is now seeding 10 terabytes and 900,000 scientific books.
The-Eye, a huge online archiving project, also joined the LibGen plight to help with storage, tracking, and seeding.
As a university student I feel obligated to point towards Library Genesis (which does have it).— 3-5 30-50x elves in a trench coat (@leftpaddotpy) November 27, 2019
Why is this project so important for those directly and indirectly involved?
"We're not only trying to get the Library Genesis main collection torrents healthier, but also trying to get the complete collection so that The-Eye can properly back it up AND distribute it out in all its glory," shrine said on Reddit. "There is currently no one doing that, so I think it's a big step towards keeping the collection safe as well as making it available to more developers who want to do something with the collection."
Moreover, offering access to books, papers, comics online without a price would open educational doors wider.
Personally I stick to this site called Library Genesis. It has basically every single book ever.https://t.co/Fbp2AVcHOr— Abe (@Abeseesall) December 1, 2019
LibGen is currently powered by Sci-Hub, a website that was created in 2011 by hacker and scientific researcher Alexandra Elbakyan.